Ammunition from the Era of the Maccabees Discovered in Time for Hanukkah

The Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes, which makes up the core of the story of Hanukkah, lasted from 167 to 160 BCE, but conflict between the Judeans and the Syria-based Greek-speaking empire continued for decades thereafter. Among the subsequent wars described in the first book of Maccabees is that which occurred when Diodotus Tryphon ruled the Seleucid empire. A stone, roughly 1.2 inches long and meant to be used in slingshot, bears witness to this conflict, as the Times of Israel reports:

A lead sling stone bearing the name of a Seleucid leader who fought against the Hasmoneans was recently found in the southern Hebron Hills in the West Bank by the military’s Civil Administration Archaeology Unit. While it was unclear when the item was found, the Civil Administration released it to the media on Sunday, the first day of the Hanukkah festival, which celebrates the Jewish victory over the Seleucid empire during the Hasmonean period.

The ammunition had the name of Diodotus Tryphon—who reigned over the Seleucid empire between 142 and 138 BC—inscribed on it in Greek. It also bore an emblem of the Greek god Zeus, according to the archaeology unit.

The item was found at Tel Zif, adjacent to the Palestinian village of Zif.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Hanukkah, Maccabees

Gaza’s Quiet Dissenters

Last year, the Dubai-based television channel Al-Arabiya, the Times of Israel, and several other media organizations worked together to conduct numerous interviews with residents of the Gaza Strip, taking great pains to protect their identities. The result is a video series titled Whispers in Gaza, which presents a picture of life under Hamas’s tyranny unlike anything that can be found in the press. Jeff Jacoby writes:

Through official intimidation or social pressure, Gazans may face intense pressure to show support for Hamas and its murderous policies. So when Hamas organizes gaudy street revels to celebrate a terrorist attack—like the fireworks and sweets it arranged after a gunman murdered seven Israelis outside a Jerusalem synagogue Friday night—it can be a challenge to remember that there are many Palestinians who don’t rejoice at the murder of innocent Jews.

In one [interview], “Fatima” describes the persecution endured by her brother, a humble vegetable seller, after he refused to pay protection money to Hamas. The police arrested him on a trumped-up drug charge and locked him in prison. “They beat him repeatedly to make him confess to things he had nothing to do with,” she says. Then they threatened to kill him. Eventually he fled the country, leaving behind a family devastated by his absence.

For those of us who detest Hamas no less than for those who defend it, it is powerful to hear the voices of Palestinians like “Layla,” who is sickened by the constant exaltation of war and “resistance” in the Palestinian media. “If you’re a Gazan citizen who opposes war and says, ‘I don’t want war,’ you’re branded a traitor,” she tells her interviewer. “It’s forbidden to say you don’t want war.” So people keep quiet, she explains, for fear of being tarred as disloyal.

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Read more at Boston Globe

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Palestinian dissidents, Palestinian public opinion